What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?
-Richard Louv, The Nature Principle
Earlier this year I heard Richard Louv speaking on the importance of our connection to nature to our wellbeing. We often hear about how often it is to conserve our environment for the sake of the environment. What is often overlooked is the importance of conserving wild spaces for our own benefit.
Recent studies are showing that exposure to nature has a number of benefits to our health, creativity, intelligence and wellbeing. This is of course common sense for people who recognise that nature it not something out there, removed from us, but instead we and the rest of nature are interdependent and inseparable (If you disagree try holding your breath for a minute). Yet industrial societies are increasingly divorced from other living things with much of our time spent indoors staring at screens.
Nature Play South Australia was launched at Richard Louv’s talk this year. This initiative is aimed at getting kids outside and playing in an unstructured way just like kids used to do 50 years ago. Their list of 50 things to do before you’re 12 perhaps could be extended to adults as well. Localisation needs to be an important part of any sustainability initiative. And this must mean more than patronising local businesses. We need to really get to know the area we live in including its geography, plants, animals and seasons. Then perhaps we can start creating truly healthy and resilient communities that work with our surroundings instead of trying to impose ideas that are completely unsuitable to the given area. I highly recommend the Nature Principle (its available from the SA library network) to find out more about how people are working to create sustainable and healthy societies rooted in nature.
And if you are looking for something to do this weekend here are some ideas: